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Release Date: 
Thursday, February 1, 2007

Two nominated for All-USA Academic Team

HFCC nominates two for All-USA Community College Academic Team

Henry Ford Community College Honors Program students Jessica Sawyers and Hannah Kelley have been nominated to compete for a place on USA TODAY’s 2007 All-USA Community and Junior College Academic Team. Sixty students from more than 1,500 applicants from community colleges across the nation will be selected for the academic team in April. The top 20 chosen for the USA TODAY first academic team will receive a trophy and a $2,500 cash award.

Allen Park resident Sawyers is a third-year student at HFCC and is pursuing a second associate’s degree in pre-professional biology. Sawyers also has an associate’s degree from HFCC in pre-professional chemistry. She is considering transferring to Wayne State University, the University of Michigan, Ferris State University, the University of Pittsburgh or the University of Georgia to pursue a degree in pharmacy.

'It feels amazing to be nominated for the All-USA team,' Sawyers stated. 'I am very grateful and happy. It is great to be recognized for intellectual achievement, and I think there should be more opportunities for people to be recognized for intellectual and academic achievements.'

Sawyers says she chose HFCC because her high school counselor recommended it and HFCC is the 'financially smart choice.' She graduated from Cabrini High School in Allen Park in 2004. This is her second year in HFCC’s Honors Program, and she applied to the program after a friend suggested it to her.

Sawyers also is the president of HFCC’s Community Service Club and the vice president of HFCC’s chapter of Phi Theta Kappa, Alpha Xi Mu. HFCC’s Community Service Club recently made 60 handmade blankets and care packages for veterans in the Veteran’s Hospitals in Detroit and Ann Arbor. Last year the club raised about $1,000 for an orphanage during the holiday season. She also volunteers at Oakwood Annapolis Hospital in Dearborn.

'In high school, community service was a graduation requirement,' Sawyers says. 'Through that, I found out I really like volunteering.'

'Through HFCC’s Honors Program, I met a lot of other students who are as serious about their educations as me,' Sawyers noted. 'It is really helpful to be surrounded by others who have similar goals, aspirations and values. The Honors Program also provided me with the Henry Ford II scholarship, which has been very helpful financially.'

Wyandotte resident Kelley is a liberal arts major at HFCC. This is her third year at HFCC and second year as a full-time student in HFCC’s Honors Program. Kelley is considering transferring to St. Mary’s College in Indiana, the University of San Diego or George Washington University in Washington D.C. to study international relations and cultural geography. Eventually, she plans to go to law school and study international law. She says she 'would love to attend U of M’s law school because it has a very strong international law program with a lot of experts in the field.'

'It is really an honor to be one of HFCC’s nominees for the national All-USA team,' Kelley says. 'There are really a lot of hard working students who are very serious about school at HFCC. It really means a lot to me. It means I have a lot of supporters and people that believe in me and think I can go on to do great things.'

Kelley is president of Phi Theta Kappa at HFCC, vice president of HFCC’s International Relations Organization-- which she co-founded, public relations officer of HFCC’s Ice Carving Club and a volunteer for the English Language Institute at HFCC. Kelley also works with the Arab-American Friendship Center and is a student ambassador for the HFCC Foundation. She also volunteers in the Beyond Basics program, which is sponsored by Phi Theta Kappa and HFCC’s Future Teachers’ Association and helps underprivileged children in school. Along with all of that, Kelley volunteers with exchange students who travel to the U.S. through Rotary Club.

Kelley also recently received a Rotary Ambassadorial Cultural scholarship worth $12,000 to study abroad for three months. Next summer, she will travel to Spain and live with a host family while studying Spanish history and local customs.

'I joined the Honors Program because my sister, Esther, was in it and she introduced me to the director, Nabeel Abraham,' Kelley said. 'Through the Honors Program, I’ve had the ability to have an honors mentor, Anthony Perry, [HFCC political science instructor,] who has really influenced my thoughts to transfer to a four-year university.'

'I’ve also had the opportunity to take the Honors colloquium courses, like Great Works, that have been very challenging and rigorous,' Kelley added. 'The Honors Program has also gives me opportunities for internships and scholarships.'

Kelley and Sawyers were required to fill out extensive applications that consisted of personal essays testifying to their involvement in the community and commitment to education, as well as letters of recommendation from HFCC instructors.

Nabeel Abraham, HFCC Honors Program director, and Corrine Asher, Community Service Club advisor and business instructor, are responsible for selecting the two candidates to represent the college. HFCC’s Honors Program is a structured program that challenges students to think critically through advanced courses and one-on-one directed studies with HFCC instructors.

'HFCC's two nominees to the All-USA academic competition are hardworking, tireless students who have led two of the most active student clubs on campus, and who effect a balance between their academic work and their volunteer activities,' says Abraham.

HFCC previously has had three nominees selected for placement on the All-USA Academic Team. Esther Kelley was honored with first team placement in 2006; Farhan Latif was selected for the first team in 2003; and Carol Tea Nini was chosen for the second team in 2002.

For more information about HFCC’s Honors Program, contact Nabeel Abraham at 313-845-6460 or via email at For more information about HFCC, please call toll free at 1-800-585-HFCC (4322) or visit